- Type Grass
- Lifespan Perennial
- USDA Zones 5-9
- Light Part shade
- Water Likes it moist
- Soil Well-drained
- When to Plant Divide in spring
- Design Tip Ground cover
- Companions Hellebores, astilbe
Hakone Grass: A Field Guide
One of the few grasses that will grow happily in shade, Hakonechloa macra is a low-growing perennial that forms cascading clumps. Use it at the base of a tree as ground cover, at the edge of a path as a border, or on a hillside to prevent erosion.
Also known as Japanese forest grass, hakone grass is more at home in well-drained, moist soil rich in humus (conditions that make it feel it home in its native environment, on the slopes of Mount Hakone in Japan).
The most commonly found cultivars of hakone grass (such as ‘Aureola’) have variegated leaves, with yellow stripes and a chartreuse cast. For other colors to complement gray or blue foliage in a garden bed, consider ‘Beni-Kaze’ (which turns wine-red in autumn); ‘Nicolas’ with solid green leaves that turn orange in fall, and ‘Albo-Striata’, a white-and-green variegated variety.